According to the AP's Rachel La Corte, last month attorney Trish Murphy sent the results of her investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Matt Manweller to Central Washington University, where Manweller teaches political science. The report is 91 pages long, but CWU won't release it until they finish their own internal investigation.
If the report completely exonerated him, it'd make sense for Manweller to release what he's seen to the public so everyone can see what a nice, innocent guy he is. Instead, he's gone into full damage control mode.
Seeking to discredit the investigation, on Wednesday Manweller released a preemptive video message and ran crying to a bunch of conservative media outlets, who dutifully attempted to absolve him of any "#MeToo behaviors" without having seen all the evidence. Judging by the level of desperation on display in this video, the results must be pretty bad.
But before we watch the video, let's review some Matt facts.
Manweller met his first wife, OraLynn Reeve, when she was sixteen and he was her math teacher. The two began dating when she was 18, but before she graduated high school. She'd go on to tell the The News Tribune that, "My truth, my story, is that I had a man that’s 12 years older than me, as a teacher in a position of power, take advantage of me, groom me to be a trophy wife and prey on my insecurities."
In December of last year, The Seattle Times detailed the findings from two sexual harassment investigations commissioned by CWU. I summarized them in a post:
One woman said he traded high grades for sexual favors: "'Really didn’t have to do anything' to get an A 'if I gave him a blow job.'"
Another of his students said that Manweller invited her to a bar, asked about her boyfriend and her sex life, and then propositioned her and her friend for a threesome.
Yet another student said that Manweller sent her a series of 'inappropriate text[s] and voicemail messages,' asking her to leave her boyfriend and sleep with him.
Manweller denies all but admits to 'saying something that was taken poorly' at the bar.
More recently the Times reported on a legislative staffer who complained "about the conduct of Washington state Rep. Matt Manweller after a meeting that she thought was to discuss her career ended up at a restaurant and felt more like a date."
After all this stuff resurfaced, CWU put Manweller on paid administrative leave in order to investigate new allegations of sexual harassment lodged against him. He also stepped down as House floor leader and was removed from a ranking position on a House committee. Another fun fact: he used to be Dino Rossi's economic advisor.
Alright! Now you're in a position to watch this dipshit dissemble. Since the communications person for the Republican caucus didn't return my call, I'll provide all caps commentary following the video.
He starts off by saying that releasing this video allows him to offer "a proper and honest response, without any media bias." RESPONSE TO WHAT, MATT? THE UNIVERSITY HASN'T RELEASED THE REPORT. CLEARLY YOU'VE SEEN A COPY OF THE REPORT. IF SO, THEN RELEASE THE REPORT YOU COWARD.
Manweller then goes on to frame the external investigation into his conduct as a partisan attempt to oust a Republican professor from a university full of liberals. But the investigation isn't about his political views. The investigation is about whether or not he sexually harassed his students and/or legislative staff. The only way we'll be able to determine whether or not those allegations seem credible is if Manweller releases the report. RELEASE THE REPORT MATT.
The clearly innocent guy then leans on the old fashioned east/west divide in Washington, saying "Central Washington University spent eight months paying a downtown Seattle lawyer $120,000 to find and pressure people to make statements." He also says the lawyer is investigating "the same claim" over and over again. Of course, an investigator's job is to investigate. The people who she talks with gain nothing by telling her their stories about the times Manweller allegedly harassed them. In fact, already conservative media is ridiculing the evidence Manweller has selectively provided in an attempt to discredit whatever other stories might be contained in the report. Also, there isn't just one claim against him, there are multiple claims. Plus, it seems as if there are new claims. But all of this is very hard to tell because NOBODY HAS RELEASED THE REPORT. RELEASE THE REPORT MATTHEW.
In the video, Manweller dismisses several complaints against him as trivial. "A summary of the past decade of allegations boils down to claims that I opened a door and helped a woman with her coat during a dinner meeting, I looked at a student in my class...," he says, citing a few other examples. But let's review the story of the woman who complained about Manweller helping her put on her coat. His framing here completely ignores the specifics of that woman's story. The problem with the "coat" story wasn't that Manweller helped the staffer put on her coat. The problem was that Manweller wasted that woman's god damn time. That staffer didn't originally want to meet Manweller for dinner. As I wrote back in December:
Instead of granting her request to meet on her terms (in public, close to work), he chooses a different, more intimate location. Of course, she's not going to say "No" when he offers dinner. She wants advice/contacts from him, and if she says "No" then she's going to look ungrateful, or cold, or else fail to live up to some other bullshit expectation society has for women. In essence, he's taking advantage of his power to put her in a situation that gives him plausible deniability when she says, wait a minute, what the fuck?
I WONDER WHAT ELSE YOU'RE LEAVING OUT OF YOUR 'BOILED DOWN' SUMMARIES OF THESE ALLEGATIONS, MATT. RELEASE THE REPORT.
Manweller then says the "decision to fire me was made before the investigation even began." But The News Tribune reports that he's still employed at the university. Why act like you've been fired when you haven't been fired, except to reinforce a false narrative that a bunch of liberal professors ruined your life by overreacting to dubious allegations of sexual harassment?
After claiming without evidence that he wasn't under fire for sexual harassment but rather "for a pattern of unprofessional and inappropriate behavior," Manweller gives us the line he wants us all to remember. Emphasis mine: "The things that are true are not inappropriate, and the things that are inappropriate are not true." YOU CAN PUT THAT ON MY TOMBSTONE, MATTHEW, AFTER YOU RELEASE THE REPORT.
And then Matt gives us a few tips about sexual harassment. He starts out with this stunner: "I want to say that I understand that our country is currently reflecting on how women are treated in the workplace." YOU MEAN "HOW MEN TREAT WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE." MEN LIKE YOU. YOU DOLT.
He continues: "But in doing so, we need to be mindful that there is a difference between real sexual harassment and something like standing too close to someone or sitting down at a lunch table with someone." WOMEN ACCUSED YOU OF TRADING BLOWJOBS FOR GOOD GRADES, MATT. RELEASE THE REPORT.
In closing, people of the 13th Legislative District, please vote for Democrat Sylvia Hammond. Thank you.